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Five Named Distinguished Alumni;
To Be Honored at 2001 Homecoming

Five Sam Houston State University graduates who have brought honor to Sam Houston State University through their lives of good citizenship and accomplishment, have been selected as Distinguished Alumni for 2001.

They include:
  • Carol R. McGuire of Houston, a pilot for the U. S. Marine Corps and Braniff Airways, who has worked since his retirement on behalf of those suffering from Parkinson's and other illnesses;

  • Thelma Rosser Terry, who taught business education in public schools for 44 years, primarily in Groveton, and has been a dedicated civic worker and education fund-raiser;

  • Kailas J. Rao of Milwaukee, Wisc., who came to Texas from India, and after receiving bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees, has been successful in computer equipment sales, investments, and digital wireless communications;

  • Charlie Amato of San Antonio, who went into banking after earning his degree, co-founding Southwest Business Corporation, and directing that company's growth which is among the fastest in San Antonio; and

  • Jerry Eversole, who worked as a coach and educator before being elected commissioner of Harris County Precinct 4, the largest precinct in one of the United States' largest counties.
The awards will be presented at the Sam Houston State University Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner Nov. 9 during 2001 SHSU homecoming activities. For information, call 936.294.1841.

Carol R. McGuire

Carol McGuire graduated from Chico High School in 1957, graduated from Kilgore Junior College in 1959, and received a bachelor's degree in industrial arts from Sam Houston State in 1961.

Carol McGuire
Carol R. McGuire

He was commissioned into the U. S. Marine Corps, serving from 1961-1966 as a pilot, landing signal officer, attack class officer, intelligence officer, and assistant operations officer, with units involved in the war in South Vietnam.

He volunteered for the U. S. astronaut corps, and worked for Braniff Airways from 1967-1982, flying the British/French supersonic transport Concorde between Dallas and Washington.

In a July 2000 interview with the Houston Chronicle, he gave this view of the SST, which had recently crashed:

"The plane handled very well. It was a lot of fun to fly. It took off and you could climb up quickly, 6,000 feet a minute, so you climb much faster than a conventional airplane. It was the most safe airplane I think I've ever been in."

He worked for Piedmont Airlines, which became USAir in 1990, from 1983-1999, and in March of 1993 was forced to take medical leave because of the development of Parkinson's disease.

He has since worked to help those suffering from Parkinson's and other conditions, and is known for an attitude best summarized in his saying, "I have Parkinson's, but Parkinson's does not have me."

Texas Governor Ann Richards commended him in 1993 "for your tireless dedication and generous service as a volunteer through the Houston Hospice." He also founded a support group at the Northwoods Presbyterian Church of Houston.

He is retired and lives in Houston, and has kept active through his support work and studying such continuing education subjects as stained glass craftsmanship and Spanish.

"Carol has served as a role model for those who have an appreciation of the incalculable contribution to society one can make by turning a challenge into an opportunity," said Ken Jordan, a classmate of McGuire's at Sam Houston State and a career Marine. "In this capacity he has brought great credit on our university as well as his community."

Thelma Rosser Terry

Thelma Rosser Terry was graduated from Groveton High School in 1939, earned her bachelor of business administration degree from Sam Houston State in 1943 and her master of arts in business education from Sam Houston State in 1950.

Thelma Terry
Thelma Rosser Terry

She taught business education in secondary schools for 44 years, at Groveton from 1942-43 and 1944-86, and Sweeny for 1943-44. She retired from teaching in 1986 with the longest tenure in the history of the Groveton school district, having taught more than 4,500 students in her business education classes.

She has been active in a number of organizations, going back to her student days at Sam Houston State where she was a member of Kappa Delta Pi and Pi Omega Pi (honorary business society).

She is a member of the Gamma Chi Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society, an organization of key women educators, and served in every capacity of the local chapter in Houston and Trinity counties and on several statewide committees for the past 54 years.

She has been a member of the Groveton Reading Club, a study and service organization, for 55 years, and has been instrumental in raising over $100,000 within the last four years for the Trinity County unit of the American Cancer Society. She has been an active member of the Texas Retired Teachers Association since 1986, holding unit and district leadership positions.

She has also been active in the Trinity County Historical commission, First Baptist Church of Groveton, the Japonica Garden Club, and the Groveton Ex-Students Association. She has served as president of that association for the past eight years and executive vice president for four years before that.

In the past 10 years the assets of the association have grown to more than $600,000, and many of the recipients of scholarships provided by the group attended and continue to attend Sam Houston State. Her philanthropy has been inspirational as well.

"Due in large part to her influence, Robert Hutson and I began the Smith-Hutson Scholarship Program, for students requiring financial assistance to attend college," the founder of that program, and one of her former students, wrote in support of her nomination for the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Kailas J. Rao

Kailas J. Rao came with his family from India, settling in San Angelo. A former Sam Houston State administrator working at Angelo State University encouraged him to apply to attend graduate school at Sam Houston State.

Kailas J. Rao
Kailas J. Rao

Almost immediately he met two people whom he credits with having an immense impact on his success--Jean Neal, who headed the business department and who gave him a teaching fellowship, and Becky Lott, now Becky Rao.

Becky was a reporter for the campus newspaper, The Houstonian, and contacted him about doing a story on his being the first Sam Houston State student from India.

He earned his master's degree from Sam Houston State University in 1970 and his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma in 1974. While working as an assistant professor of accounting and accounting systems at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee he foresaw the business opportunities of personal computers.

He taught until 1980, forming his own company and working as a consultant with small to medium-sized Midwestern companies. In 1981 he founded Computer Bay, a Wisconsin company that over 11 years grew into a franchised network of 350 stores in 44 states and Canada with annual network revenues of $500 million.

In 1993, with four partners, he established the boutique investment-banking firm of GS2, specializing in asset management, brokerage, mergers and acquisitions and investment banking for small-to medium-sized businesses. In 1995 he sold his ownership in GS2, which had grown to more than 60 employees and managed assets of more than $500 million.

In 1995 he founded Indus, Inc., a digital wireless communications company serving two million customers in southeastern Wisconsin. That company merged with AT&T Wireless and their affiliate, TeleCorp, and Rao became chairman of Wisconsin operations for TeleCorp. He is also founder and president of the KJR, L. L. C. consulting company of Milwaukee.

Kailas and Becky Rao have created four tuition and fee scholarships at Sam Houston State University in honor of professors and administrators who were instrumental in their education. These include Albert Kidd, Bobby Marks, Ferol Robinson and Jean Neal.

Rao's philanthropy has also included Angelo State University, the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, Milwaukee Public Museum, Junior Achievement, American Diabetes Association, and the Wisconsin Humane Society.

He has won numerous industry awards, including the Universal Wireless Communication Consortium Advocacy Award in 1999, three "Entrepreneur of the Year" awards by Ernst & Young and INC Magazine, in 1989, 1991 and 1992, and was recognized by several organizations for the growth rate and size of his companies.

Charlie Amato

Charlie Amato graduated from Sam Houston State University in 1970 with a bachelor of business administration degree, and started his career with Bay City Bank & Trust. In 1976 he and another SHSU alum, Gary Dudley, founded Southwest Business Corporation.

Charlie Amato
Charlie Amato

He has served as chairman of that corporation for the past 25 years, during which the company has experienced rapid growth, with more than $45 million in revenue in 2001, and recognition as one of the 50 Fastest Growing Companies in San Antonio.

A resident of San Antonio, he has made significant contributions to that city, serving as chairman of the board of the Christus Santa Rosa Health Care Corporation. He also serves as a board member of the University of the Incarnate Word, the University of Texas-San Antonio College of Business Advisory Council and the UTSA Development Board, the Alamo Bowl, the San Antonio Spurs Foundation, the Texas Business Hall of Fame Foundation, the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, where he served as chairman in 2000, and the United Way. He is chair-elect for 2001 of the Children's Miracle Network Board of Trustees.

In 1992 he was recognized as the South Texas Entrepreneur of the year for financial services. In 1998 he received the Department of the Army Commander's Award for Public Service Medal and, in 1999, was honored by SHSU's College of Business Administration as an Executive-in-Residence. He is a member of the College of Business Administration Advisory Council and this year will serve as council chairman.

He was selected to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000, but his presentation was delayed because he was unable to attend last year's award dinner.

Jerry Eversole

Jerry Eversole earned his bachelor of science degree from Sam Houston State in 1966, working first in the Liberty school district as a head baseball coach and assistant football coach.

Jerry Eversole
Jerry Eversole

Prior to being elected to his present position as commissioner of Harris County Precinct 4, he was president of the Humble Area Chamber of Commerce for more than 18 years, during which he focused on the economic development of northeast Harris County.

In 1991 he began his tenure as commissioner and is now in his third four-year term. He administers the largest precinct in Harris County, with approximately 904,000 residents. His precinct's boundaries encompass most of the northern region of Harris County and include Crosby, Huffman, Humble, Spring, Tomball, the Champions area, Jersey Village, and continue south into Houston, including Spring Branch and River Oaks. Harris County is the third largest county in the United States.

His duties include overseeing the regular maintenance of more than 45 percent of the total Harris County Road miles, which are in his precinct. In addition, 22 parks and three community centers are in this area.

These include the Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, and Burroughs Park.

His civic activities include the Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Cypress/Woodlands Junior Forum, the North Harris County Criminal Justice Association, the Klein Bank Advisory Board, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, and the Spring Independent School District Education Foundation Advisory Board.

His awards include being named Citizen of the Year by the Humble Area Chamber of Commerce, being named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Humble Intercontinental Rotary Club, and a Service to Mankind Award from the Leukemia Society.

His wife, Pat, is a 1965 graduate of Sam Houston State.

- END -

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Oct. 22, 2001
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